It was wonderful to (finally) hold our long awaited and eagerly anticipated Youth Health Forum face to face in Brisbane last Friday and actually meet many of the dedicated and inspirational young people on our Youth Reference Group in person.

In the presence of a variety of amazing stakeholders (some online) including other young health consumer representatives who are partnering with health organisations, the Director General, Queensland Health, Dr John Wakefield and Chief Executive of Children’s Health Queensland, Frank Tracey, the Queensland Child and Youth Clinical Network, the Queensland Council for LGBTI Health, the Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council, the Queensland Mental Health Commission, the Queensland Child and Family Commission, a number of Hospital and Health Services across Queensland, the Mater Refugee and Multicultural Youth Network and many more, the group launched HCQ’s Youth Engagement Framework 2021: Amplifying the Youth Voice.

We want to thank the Youth Reference Group members for their input in shaping this project as well as those who shared their story and thank you to all the stakeholders involved in the co-design of this Framework and the many stakeholders involved in the Framework Actions.

The Framework is a starting point for improving and increasing engagement of young health consumers in the Queensland health system and beyond, with the aim of better health services for young people and a health ecosystem that values the voice and involvement of young people. This will create opportunities for young people to get involved and build the capacity of health staff across Queensland to engage with young people.

Lachlan, a young health consumer from the Youth Reference Group reflected on the day and said “it was so nice to have met both Dr John Wakefield and Frank Tracey on Friday and to feel heard. You gave us young people a voice and made a commitment to amplify and sustain it. As young people, we’re endeavouring to help support and improve our healthcare community. Many of us in that room on Friday have an unspoken bond and common experience, it’s that passion that motivates us to stay involved and help create something better”.

Both John Wakefield and Frank Tracey made a commitment to continue to support this body of work and acknowledged the importance of “Amplifying the voice of young health consumers”.

John was delighted to invite some of the young heath consumers to present to the Senior Leadership Forum and for the young people to respectfully challenge the leadership team about what bringing that to life looks like. This is a fantastic opportunity to present the Framework and next steps needed to implement across the state and to engage young people in service design and improvement.

John said “This will be an opportunity to tell the executives ‘what’s in it for them’ – ie. As they grapple with rising demand and funding constraints, how will this engagement help them deliver better services for young people within a constrained funding envelope. This is where the rubber hits the road with the executive group and they have to believe that this is going to help them achieve their performance goals”.

Health Consumers Queensland looks forward to closing the feedback loop with all stakeholders involved in this project and outcomes from the Forum.